A new Google Chrome browser extension, Picturebook, is now available that says it allows users to view other people’s “hidden” Facebook photos even if they aren’t friends with them.
However, this isn’t quite as invasive as it sounds. The app isn’t able to change a user’s privacy settings, so if you’ve hidden your Facebook photos from the general public, you’re in the clear. Instead, the app digs up photos that were hidden from timelines. While removing a photo from a Facebook timeline prevents it from being seen there, it isn’t permanently blocked or removed from the site in any way; it’s only harder to find. Picturebook simply does the hard work for you in finding them.
But there are several easy ways to ensure your photos don’t pop up on Picturebook. You can untag yourself in photos using the drop-down menu under each individual picture, and you can also tighten up your privacy settings to ensure you’re only sharing content with the groups you want. Picturebook can only access images marked as “Public,” so simply changing that can keep your pics from prying eyes. If you have friends posting photos publicly, then you should nicely ask them to change the privacy settings.
While this app sounds super creepy on its face, it doesn’t do anything that a Facebook user can’t do themselves with a little work. And thankfully, it’s a basic enough approach to finding pictures that you can easily protect yourself from it.
It’s also a good idea to enable tag review, so you’ll be able to choose what items appear on your Timeline.